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2004 Urban Unemployment Rate Below Forecast

China's registered urban unemployment rate in 2004 was 4.2 percent, 0.4 percentage points below the estimate made at the beginning of the year.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security attributes the improvement to the sustained rapid GDP growth and the country's various measures to boost employment, including offering jobs to the millions of laid-off workers from state-owned enterprises.

Minister of Labor and Social Security Zheng Silin said that China still faces problems that will not be fixed in a short term, like the gap between supply and demand for labor.

"China will continue to implement active employment policies and boost employment in 2005. The main target for this year is to create a total of nine million new jobs and to hold the urban unemployment rate under 4.6 percent," said Zheng.

He stated that the government will continue to offer small reemployment loans to those who have lost their jobs. It will also accelerate the establishment of a public employment services system to intensify guidance and training of the workforce.

(CRI February 18, 2005)

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